How Can I Avoid Tickets?
[ARH] The first thing I bought for my NSX in ’92 was a Valentine 1, now upgraded. It has paid for itself several times over. The next most important thing to do in IMO is to locate and become a member of a charitable organization that supports your State Police.
Ours is the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation, “An organization devoted to the welfare of widows and dependents of the California highway Patrol”. It’s a BIG THING with CHP officers, who have given me a real break on several occasions when I was expecting the worst. Sometimes they’ve pulled up behind me and then veered off when they spotted my 11-99 license plate frame. 11-99 is the CHP radio code for an officer needing assistance.
Even the local Deputy Sheriffs have given me breaks thanks to my membership. A SoCal NSX owner I met at the Monterey Historics in ’93 had the foundation send me a brochure, and I always welcome the opportunity to share my good fortune. If you’re in any other state, find out if there’s a similar organization. There are no guarantees, of course, but IMO the officer who stops you is much more likely to give you a break.
July 1994 Car & Driver
1. Select Proper equipment
- Avoid bright red performance cars
- Non-descript mouse-gray “family” cars pass by unnoticed
- Choose sports sedans such as Taurus SHO, Infinity Q45, etc.
- a GOOD Radar Detector
2. Recognize the threat early
- Avoid excessive speeding on sparsely traveled highways. There will be no radar cover for you. This applies to both day and night driving.
- Pay attention to Radar alerts, especially X-band “blips” on a rural highway. This may turn out to be K-band bouncing of a car in front of you.
- Learn to recognize “threat” vehicles, such as Mustang LX’s, full-size Chevrolets, Dodge Diplomats, Plymouth Gran Fury’s, etc.
- Identifying “threat” vehicles: windshield pillar mounted spotlight, stabilizer bar underside car ( especially on Chevrolets ), wide perfor- mance tires.
- Rules apply whenever vehicle approaches from front or rear – slow down for positive identification!
3. Maintain good daytime scan
- Golden Rule #1 restated: Innocuous cars may pass unnoticed.
- Slow down when approaching underpasses – enforcer may be on far side behind the concrete.
- Be suspicious of vehicles parked on the inside or outside shoulder until a positive I.D. is made.
- Check On-ramps: give a quick look to the top of the on-ramp.
- Slow down whenever you notice a vehicle behind you matching your speed for a positive identification. The vehicle matching your speed will not be getting smaller in your rear-view mirror.
4. Maintain a good night scan
- Moving up on an enforcer vehicle: learn to identify taillights. Good example is the Mustang LX. Immediately look for the folded in spotlight.
- Prime rule for nighttime driving: drive fast enough so that all head- lights of passed motorists reduce rapidly in size. Any air of headlamps that maintains the same distance will need to be identified.
5. Practice Stealth, deception, and “hiding”
- Find a “hare” who is pleased to demonstrate that his car is better than yours. Drop back to a safe distance and enjoy the radar shield. Do maintain your rear scan though.
- Run at times with lights, then at times without, hiding yourself in front of a group of trucks when you change illumination. The reason for this is that an enforcer, having “noticed” you from a long distance back, will be looking for a certain as-yet-unidentified vehicle with lights ( or without ) as he moves quickly up through traffic. Suddenly, he is in identifiable range of a vehicle similar in size and shape to the one he believes may have been violating, only now the illumination is different from what he saw before, thus rendering him unsure. Follow- ing rules #2 and #3, you will have slowed down to quasi-legal speed. This will confuse the officer, especially if you have removed your radar detector from the windshield or visor.
- Placement and removal of the radar detector is crucial. The unit should be directly in front of you so that a following threat vehicle cannot see it.
- If you believe you have been actively “noticed”, hide in front of a large truck, accelerate while under cover, and exit any off-ramp or rest area. You will have nothing to lose at this juncture.
- Any time an officer moves in on you, remove the detector at once and place it in the seat next to you.
- If you are in imminent danger of being stopped, execute the following emergency procedure in sequence: (1) remove detector and jam under seat; (2) wipe off suction cup or other tell-tale marks with moistened index fingertip, and (3) Replace the cigarette lighter ! An empty cigarette lighter is a dead giveaway to the officer that he is dealing with a chronic offender. He will treat you accordingly.
- For the reason above, consider buying a concealed radar detector.
- If you have noticed a radar but it’s too late to react slow down immediately (check your mirror obviously). Doing so will give an inconsistent reading on the radar which will either result in the radar throwing out the readings (one fast, one medium, one slow seems like a false-positive) or can be used in court should you dispute a ticket as proof of a false reading.
6. Beware of slow moving “clumps”
- Clumps are largish groups of vehicles covering all lanes and maintain a near-legal speed.
- Most “loose” clumps will contain one enforcer vehicle at the front ( usually a marked cruiser, and one in the middle or at the tail of the clump. The vehicle at the rear will usually be unmarked and looking for lane changing and in-and-out weaving. Knowledge of rule #2 will make him a dead giveaway.
- Beware of curves, crests, and grassy medians. Instant-on may be placed so that the violator can be “shot” just as he crests the hill, before he has a chance to react. Slow down – its safer.
7. Avoid unprofessional and provocative behavior
- The smart motorist does not alienate others
- Slow to a moderate speed when passing other motorists. One of the benign-looking minivans you just ran off the road may contain an off- duty officer with a notebook and a phone.
- Avoid provocative license plates and bumper stickers: “How’s my driving ? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT” will not give you any breaks when stopped by an officer.
8. Maintain a high level of attention at all times
- Raid motoring is a serious business. Stay focused. Distractions are all incompatible with rules #1-9.
9. Behave correctly when stopped
- Chronic fast driving will get you stopped sooner or later. Observance of rules #1-9 will make this much, much later, but not “never”.
- Do not act blase’. A cocky stance of “OK, so you got me” is provocative. SO is attempting to argue that there must be some terrible mistake – you know you were under the limit.
- Do not forget to remove your detector and follow the other steps men- tioned in rule #5.
- Be courteous, candid and contrite. Trembling while handing over your license demonstrates that this situation is unusual and terrifying to you. It shows respect for the law and fear of punishment.
- Answer the question “Do you know how fast you were going ?” with “Truly, I don’t – my mind must’ve been wandering”. “But I must have been going over the speed limit, or you wouldn’t have stopped me.” Note that you were not speeding deliberately – no “late for work” excuses !
Ten Tips for Speeders
[GM] From the Honda-Performance mailing list
As in all offers American, a disclaimer is called for: if, after you learn these rules, you are apprehended, please do not attempt to call me and threaten legal action. Remember that advice may be worth no more than what you paid for it (nothing in this instance) and that these tips and special remedies cannot *eliminate* the risk of apprehension, though they can and do dramatically reduce such risk.
RULE 1: SELECT PROPER EQUIPMENT
You cannot hope to speed with impunity without proper equipment. The best radar detector money can buy is a mandatory investment. But there is more: think about the car itself. A bright red Ferrari F40 or Lamborghini Diablo, and a bespoilered and fat-tired Mustang GT are “ticket magnets.” A nondescript Ford Aerostar, in mouse-gray- metallic, or a powder-blue generic U.S. sedan, are largely ticket-proof. It is sad, but the more overtly your vehicle displays the intent for high-speed use, the less it will be capable of doing so. Perhaps this fact explains why, in a presumably Darwinian evolution, Corvette drivers have become slower and slower, to the point of now being tragic but amusing mobile chicanes The answer to driving fast without resorting to a dull automobile is the sports sedan, and fine examples abound, ranging from the Infiniti Q45 to the Taurus SHO and the Dodge Sprint R/T. If ordered in other than “Arrest-Me-Red”, the modern sports sedan will provide many more miles of hassle free motoring at far greater speeds than a more “overt” vehicle.
All cars may look the same to a radar gun, but radar is not the only threat, and if you are stopped, the type of vehicle you drive and *what it says s about your driving style* can be of decisive importance
RULE 2: RECOGNIZE THE THREAT EARLY
This is a straightforward rule. Believe your detector, even if it gives only a short, uncertain signal. It may well be the dreaded K-band “instant-on” aimed at vehicles ahead of you. How often have I, hurtling down the highway, heard the first plaintative bleat from my Escort, pulled courteously to the right, permitted my close follower (in disregard of Rules 5 and 6) to blast by, only to have him receive a full dose of microwaves seconds later. This is inevitably followed by the offensive sucking-vacuum sound of a large police cruiser rushing past the now sanctimomously-slow Dr. Bigone. The scene ends, so sad, with a display of flashing lights somewhere up ahead. Scanning X-band radar is falling into increasing disuse, and many agencies are resorting to traditional seek-and-pace techniques. Or they may sneak up behind, match your speed, and then, within range, squeeze off a burp of instant-on to lock up the evidence. So sad, yes?
You must learn to recognize “threat” vehicles. Even though the telltale “light bar” is increasingly absent, threat vehicles have some common characteristics: they are almost always American, usually full-size Fords, full-size Chevrolets, Mustang GTs, or Plymouth Gran Furys/Dodge Diplomats. Period. Even without light bars, you should be able to pick out these vehicles at great distances by looking for windshield-pillar mounted spotlights (carefully folded inward) and, more importantly, fat tires. When approaching a suspect vehicle from the rear, look for the above cues plus check the underside for the telltale stabilizer bar, especially on Chevrolets. If you think you see a well-shod white, ivory, blue, or black Diplomat, Caprice, Mustang, or Crown Vic in your rear-view mirror, slow down! Permit him to come closer for positive identification. The seconds lost are meaningless and quickly regained if the possible threat is found to be benign. When entering a new state, take a few moments at a local gas pump to learn what types of vehicles and what types of surveillance the indigenous enforcement professionals use. It’s time well spent.
RULE 3: MAINTAIN A GOOD DAYTIME SCAN
Daytime threat-avoidance is different from night-avoidance. You see the threat earlier, but he also sees you. (This is where the wisdom of Rule 1 becomes apparent: Innocuous cars may pass unnoticed.) When moving smartly in daylight hours, constantly scan your mirrors and the road ahead for threats. Slow when going through underpasses, for the enforcer may be parked out of sight behind the far-side concrete. Be suspicious of *any* vehicle parked on the inside or outside shoulder. Slow down until you are sure it is not an enforcer. Check on-ramps as you drive by them. Give a quick look over your right shoulder, all the way to the top of the on-ramp to ensure that it is clean of the authorities. Monitor your rear-view mirror constantly for any sign of unusual activity. Try to remember cars that you pass. If, later, you see what appears to be a possible threat vehicle far behind you and don’t remember passing it, slow down for identification. Even if you are *reasonably sure* you passed it, if that vehicle is now *matching your speed* (not getting smaller in your rear-view mirror), slow down for positive identification. Proper daytime scan has saved the author as many as five times per month.
RULE 4: MAINTAIN A GOOD NIGHT SCAN
At night, the radar-silent enforcer is hard to see. The daytime rules of underpass-slowing and on-ramp checking apply, but are more difficult to execute. The risk of moving up on an enforcer vehicle can be minimized by learning taillights. This is largely a process of elimination: pickups, vans, minivans, and Japanese or European vehicles are not likely to be
threats. Nor are Chevettes, Escorts, GM J-bodies, or any front-wheel-drive vehicle. But if it looks large, or has Mustang LX taillights, you must immediately look for folded-in spotlights and/or fat rubber. Tragically, if these items are present, you must slow down, though it might only be an employee of a private security service on his way home. You can’t take the chance.
The prime instrument for night driving is the rear-view mirror, and the prime rule is to drive fast enough so that all headlights of passed motorists reduce rapidly in size. Any pair of headlamps that maintains the same size or the same separation between the lamps calls for immediate deceleration pending positive identification.
RULE 5: PRACTICE STEALTH, DECEPTION AND “HIDING”
You can move fast without exposing yourself, because you can usually find a “hare” who is pleased to demonstrate that his car is better than yours. Never attempt to dissuade him: instead, drop back to a safe distance and enjoy the radar shield. Do maintain the rear scan, because threat vehicles coming from behind you are now your responsibility. Moving in a lane containing Class 8 trucks some distance ahead will also shield your car until you pass the truck. In daylight hours, you may choose to run at times with lights, at times without, hiding yourself in front of a group of trucks when you change illumination. The reason for this is that an enforcer, having “noticed” you from a long distance back, will be looking for a certain as-yet-unidentified vehicle with lights on (or without) as he moves quickly up through traffic. Suddenly, he is in identifiable range of a vehicle *similar* in size and shape to the one he believes may have been violating, only now the illumination is different from what he saw earlier, thus rendering him unsure. Meanwhile, you,
practicing Rule 2 and 3, will have slowed to a quasi-legal speed. This usually draws a perplexed and suspicious look from the officer, but no pull-over order, *especially if you have removed your radar detector from the windshield or visor.*
An integral part of deception and hiding is the placement and removal of the detector. The unit belongs on the windshield or dash *directly in front of you* so that a following threat vehicle cannot see it. If you were an enforcer, would you not pursue vehicles wherein reside little amber or green blinking lights and kinky power cords, which can be seen from hundreds of feet away? If you believe you have been actually “noticed” by a trailing police vehicle, hide in front of large trucks, accelerate while under cover, and exit any off-ramp or rest area. At this juncture, you have nothing to lose. Any time you believe that an officer wants to close in on you, remove the detector at once and place it on the seat next to you. If you are in imminent danger being stopped, execute the following emergency procedures in sequence: ( 1) remove detector and jam under seat, (2) wipe off suction cup or other telltale mark with moistened index fingertip, and (3) *replace the cigarette lighter!* An empty cigarette lighter outlet is a dead giveaway to the officer that he is dealing with a chronic but sly violator. He will treat you accordingly.
RULE 6: BEWARE OF SLOW MOVING “CLUMP”
Many an otherwise-experienced and skillful motorist gets done in by what I call “clumps.” Clumps are largish groups of vehicles covering all available lanes which move at, or close to, the posted limit. Danger lurks, strangely enough, because the vehicles are maintaining a very safe nose-to-tail distance, thus permitting the unsuspecting enthusiast to carefully make his way through. Unfortunately, when he emerges at the front of the clump, he will see a blinding array of flashing lights overwhelming his rearview mirror. Moral: most loose clumps contain at least one enforcer vehicle, one near the front (a marked cruiser) and maybe one near the center, or end, checking for lane-changing and in-and-out weaving. The latter may be unmarked, but knowledge of Rule 2 makes it a dead giveaway. There is *no* excuse for getting caught in a clump.
RULE 7: BEWARE OF CURVES, CRESTS, AND GRASSY MEDIANS
Instant-on may be placed so that the violator can be “shot” just as he crests a hill, before he has a chance to react. The crest ahead of you may also hide a police vehicle coming in the other direction, radar at the ready. Slow down before crests. It’s safer.
RULE 8: AVOID UNPROFESSIONAL AND PROVOCATIVE BEHAVIOR
The smart motorist does not alienate others. Slow to a *moderate* speed differential when passing other motorists. (After all, one of those benign-looking minivans may contain an off-duty officer equipped with pen and phone.) It is also good judgment to avoid provocative license plates such as “HI OFCR” or “SPEEDR.” If I were an enforcer, I would give no breaks to those bearing the bumper sticker, “How’s my driving Call 1-800-EAT-SHlT.”
RULE 9: MAINTAIN A HIGH LEVEL OF ATTENTION AT ALL TIMES
Rapid motoring is a serious business incompatible with any simultaneous activity. Women can’t conk their hair, males can’t shave, and nose-probing is out of the question for both sexes. Caressing the passenger s fine thigh is permissible only while driving at, or near, the posted limit. Marital arguments, discussion of offsprings’ grades, negotiations involving business – in person or on a car phone – are all incompatible with Rules 1 through 9. The enthusiast’s favorite argument that the skilled, dedicated driver is safe at higher than average speeds holds true *only* if he is unimpaired and totally focused on the task at hand.
RULE 10: BEHAVE CORRECTLY WHEN STOPPED
Chronic rapid driving will, statistically, get you stopped sooner or later. Observance of Rules 1 through 9 will make it much, much later, but not “never.” The consequences of the interception depend mightily on your behavior. Do not act blase. A cocky stance of “Okay, so-you-got-me” is provocative. So is attempting to argue that there must be some terrible mistake, you know you were under the limit. Failure to remove the detector and the suction-cup marks and to replace the cigarette lighter will terribly disappoint the officer. (It is now, by the way, that you wish you hadn’t ordered the Sports Decor Pack,” but this is a moot issue.)
Be courteous, candid, and contrite. Trembling while handing over your license demonstrates that this situation is an unusual and terrifying experience for you. It shows respect for the law and fear of punishment. (You’ll do this automatically .)
The question, “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?” should be answered with, “Truly, I don’t – my mind was wandering.” (This is accurate: You were not focusing on Rules 1 through 9!) “But I must have been over the limit or I guess you wouldn’t have stopped me.” Note that you weren’t speeding *deliberately* – no “late for work” or “catch a plane” excuses! Your attention drifted a bit, that’s all, no premeditated criminally was involved!
At this point, the officer may run a computer check on your hopefully uninteresting driving record which, if you have been diligently and consistently been practicing Dr. Bigone s rules, will be point-free! The resultant action may well be (1) a warning, (2) a modest fine not involving points, or (3) some “break” in the reported excess speed, minimizing the
points and thus limiting the damage. The author has experienced all of these outcomes.
There you have it! May you drive enjoyably, safely, with low insurance premiums and a good, clean driving record.
How Should I Fight A Ticket?
There are a number of resources with information on fighting tickets. Some of the ones recommended by NSX list members are:
Name Contact Notes
The National Motorists Association (NMA) (800) 882-2785
http://www.motorists.com This was the group instrumental in repealing the national 55 speed limit. They have a legal defense kit, books, lawyer referral, and more.
NOLO Press http://www.nolo.com Their book “Fight Your Ticket” is recommended. Some information is specific to California (NOLO is in Berkley, CA).
Traffic Ticket Attorneys (714) 543-8885 Southern California only (they are in Santa Ana). Their fee is $100 + the amount of your fine to represent you in court.
www2.deskmedia.com/~dev/speeding.html Resultant from conversation regarding cops/TRs, etc., found this on the ‘net. Gives excellent advice regarding successful speeding.
[CEW] Here are the basics of the letter that I wrote to get info regarding the last ticket that I recieved! I have already found out that the officer NOR his police agency have the FCC permit. I would think that I am home free now. . .
[I wrote the Virginia code information here that says they have to produce these for me :-)]
1. Officer M. D. Weiss’ training records that pertain to his instruction, certification, and continuing education of traffic speed enforcement and to the instruction, and certification in the use of the speed devise that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in citation number 96-63983
2. Officer M.D. Weiss’ daily log for the day of 23 October, 1996.
3. Officer M.D. Weiss’ RADAR log for the day of 23 October, 1996.
4. The manufacturer’s name, model, and serial number of the device used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in citation number 96-63983.
5. A copy of the maintenance, and certification records, for the last twelve (12) months, of the speed measuring device that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in citation nimber 96-63983.
6. A copy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license that authorizes the issuing police agency to lawfully operate the device on a specific frequency or range of frequencies.
7. A copy of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license that authorizes Officer M.D. Weiss to lawfully operate the device on a specific frequency or range of frequencies.
8. A copy of BOTH SIDES of M.D. Weiss’ copy of citation number 96-63983
9. The manufacturer’s name, model, serial number, and frequency of the tuning forks used to test the device that ascertained the speed of the vehicle described in citation number 96-63983.
10. A copy of the manufacturer’s certification of the tuning forks used to test the device that ascertained the speed of the vehicle described in citation number 96-63983.
If for any reason you are unable to comply with the above request, please notify me, in writing, before my trial date set for 17 December 1996 at 8:30AM.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
[CM] Please keep in mind that this is not guaranteed. I have only used this tactic in Marion County, Indianapolis, IN. When I get pulled over for a traffic violation, I act courteous and friendly. Unfortunately I am not as smooth as BlueJay, so I usually end up with a ticket. No problem. All of my infractions have been mild enough to allow payment by mail. I think that if you have something too serious you are required to go to court (in Indiana). Anyway, I don’t pay it, but rather, set a court date for the future. This process then issues the officer a subpoena. Apparently, the cops around here have better things to do when it comes time for court. Of the 7 times I have done this, the officer has NEVER shown up (knock on wood). One important thing to avoid saying when in the presence of the ticketing officer is “see you in court”!! The key is not to piss him off. The whole thing takes months, so it’s plenty of time for the officer to forget about you. Good luck!!